Dental implants are the artificial root made usually out of titanium. They are surgically placed into the jawbone in the upper or lower jaw by a dentist licensed to perform dental implantology. Dental implants can even stimulate the bone growth, so this is a good way to enhance the bone quality. In addition, if you have periodontal disease, it will prevent the bone resorption process to occur.
Dental implants are very strong and durable and can last for many years with proper care and regular dental exams. It is important to properly brush around the implant area to remove all the plaque and debris accumulations. you may damage the implant if you don’t brush around it (especially in the first few months). Regular dental exams will ensure if the dental implant is tightened or needs to be replaced due to normal wear.
Some of the reasons for having dental implants are these:
- Replace one or more missing teeth without having to prepare and drill the adjacent teeth (as it is needed for the fixed bridge work)
- Restore chewing, biting and speaking functions
- Restore facial tissues
- Support bridge or denture (to reduce the looseness)
- Enhance the beauty of the smile
- Restore joint pain and bite damaged by teeth loss
The process of getting dental implants involves a number of visits over the period of several months. Before the procedure itself, a thorough examination is needed both of your oral health and your overall health. It is not recommended to have dental implant procedure if you suffer from immunodeficiency, kidney failure and you are on the dialysis.
X-rays need to be taken (most often OPG and sometimes CAT scans for a better view of a bone quality). If you have a low bone quality, not enough height or width, bone grafting procedure might be necessary. Impressions (molds) need to be taken so your dentist can plan the procedure in detail.
On the surgery day, the area of the work will be numbed with local anesthesia. A small incision is then made on the gums to expose the bone. With special drills, that are about the same size as the future implant, small holes are made in the bone. The implant is then placed inside the hole and the gums are sutured up. This is left to heal for the period of 3-6 months. During this time, osseointegration process (the process where the bone and your body accept the dental implant) is supposed to happen.
After this time, another surgical procedure is needed to re-open the dental implant that has hopefully now healed. Depending on the dental implant type,the post is placed on the top which will hold the future crown. After several weeks of healing, the artificial teeth are made and post to the portion of the anchor. Several fittings might be required so this is the process which may take some time. Once the artificial teeth have been placed, they will strongly attach to the implant’s anchor and hold for a long time. This will give you an excellent stability and comfort.
It is extremely important to have good oral hygiene habit and healthy balanced diet in order to maintain your dental implant for a long time.